Monsanto stands by new dicamba herbicide
Monsanto is standing by its dicamba herbicide amid reports of possible drift, a product it says was thoroughly tested for 10 years before it was granted EPA approval. Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley told reporters many farmers and consultants he’s met with say off-label use of older dicamba products is high – up to 25% of applications in some places, “Many noted that the sales of these products spiked this year despite the fact that corn and wheat acres were down. And, as you may know, these older products are primarily used on corn and wheat this time of year.”
Fraley says where there ARE problems with the new formulation, resulting drift is probably related to inadequate buffer distances and spraying in the wind. Monsanto’s John Chambers says the vast majority of problems are because applications were NOT done according to label…but acknowledged there IS a learning curve for farmers AND Monsanto, “Our label requirements here ARE different from what we have done with RoundUp in the past in terms of the nozzles, the timing of application and all. So there IS a learning that is going on with us and with our customers.”
Fraley says drift that occurred early to soybean plants should not result in reduced yields. He says the causes of reported damage have NOT all been tied to dicamba and must be thoroughly investigated. Fraley told reporters the vast majority of the 25-Million acres of their Xtendimax soybeans and cotton planted with the use of XtendiMax with VaporGrip technology have had great success.
Monsanto officials say they like the approach taken with dicamba drift concerns in Missouri and Tennessee, which have come up with special use recommendations. Missouri lifted its temporary ban on new dicamba formulations Thursday. Tennessee issued use restrictions on Wednesday.
Monsanto’s Vice President/North America, Lisa Safarian, says Arkansas’ banning of dicamba, an important tool to many farmers’ success at this late stage of the season after growers already made their crop protection decisions, will hurt more farmers and not get states any closer to a solution. Monsanto does not sell its XtendiMax in Arkansas but BASF had sold Engenia. Arkansas’ 120-day dicamba ban began Tuesday.
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